#SelfCare17: Say “No.”

As girls, we are taught to say yes, even at the expense of our own heart. As women, we can be so worried that people won’t like us, that we talk ourselves into something we don’t want. Not only is this unhealthy, but it’s dangerous!  Do yourself a favor, and practice saying no. Even when you are uncomfortable, even when you don’t feel like it, saying no is like exercising a muscle, it needs repetition. No is not only a full sentence, but for many, a first step in really learning to love yourself.

Share!

#SelfCare17: Set Boundaries

When you’re dedicated to self-improvement, it’s easy to take on too much. But we’re only human and it’s important to remember people like limits. Children thrive when adults set clear boundaries. The challenge comes when you’re an adult and you must set your own. Instead of thinking about it as self-denial or even self-discipline shift your perspective. Setting boundaries is a great form of self-protection and another opportunity to figure out how to express yourself within safe confines. It’s a way to better understand who you are, what you’re comfortable with, and how you want others to treat you. Setting boundaries is integral to building a healthy relationship with yourself and others.

Share!

#SelfCare17: Volunteer

Most writers will tell you they’ve suffered blocks where they focus on assignments and just can’t break through. Then one day they’re walking, showering, or shopping and BOOM! It all starts flowing. Well self-care can be a lot like writing. It requires focus, reflection, and self-expression. It’s a lot, and sometimes doesn’t flow as easily as we’d like. Volunteering is a great way to get your mind off of you. While doing good for others you can break through your self-care rut and feed the part of you that naturally nurtures. 

Share!

#SelfCare17: Speak Up

The only thing worse than not being able to think of a perfect comeback in the moment is when you know exactly what you want to say but don’t. With generations of women being taught to be seen and not heard, it’s easy to fall into silence even when you have something valid to say. Part of self-care is recognizing that what’s within you is of value, and that includes your words. It may take practice to get out what you want to say, but don’t let that stop you. Sometimes I have to rehearse so that the words are really mine and I believe them. Your words are important. Don’t let them go unspoken. 

Share!

#SelfCare17: Connect with a Higher Power / Greater Good

Sometimes self-care can feel like self-indulgence. But it doesn’t have to be! Anytime I’m struggling in my practice or questioning why it’s important, I remind myself that I am connected to a higher power and a greater good. When I remember that the causes I’m fighting for are far bigger than me but that I am still an integral part of the fight, I am strengthened. It’s a great reminder that you must take care of yourself so you can be at your best for the collective.

Share!

#BlogHer16 Closing Keynote Recap

It’s not often that we get to have honest, public discussions with a few hundred folks about intersectional feminism and activism. That’s exactly what we did at the closing keynote of the #BlogHer16 conference this past Saturday. I was honored to moderate this inspiring panel conversation about how people in the public eye can use their platform for activism. As well as about how we all can serve to be better allies to the causes that move us.

 

My long-term partners at Dove kicked off the panel sharing about their new campaign #MyBeautyMySay and it’s right on time for the Olympics! The media too often makes comments about female athletes and their appearance rather than focusing on their accomplishments. And have you read these headlines lately?? Now accomplished female athletes are being described by their husbands rather than their own achievements!

Screen Shot 2016-08-08 at 4.52.02 PM

Screen Shot 2016-08-08 at 5.06.17 PM

 

So leave it to our panel of bad asses to break it all down! I was joined by the incredible: Jurnee Smollett-Bell and Matt McGorry, and professional boxer Heather “The Heat” Hardy. As actors and athletes in the public eye they are also fighting for social justice – whether it’s HIV/AIDS awareness, civil rights, racial and gender equality or equal pay. They are all utilizing their privilege and public platforms to speak out.

 

We dug into what makes a good ally – especially to causes where you are not the predominant demographic effected (think: how to be a good white ally for Black Lives Matter) and also how to fight injustice within your own field of business (think: how to challenge sexism and racism amongst your co-workers and bosses). Not easy subjects for sure. But this panel handled it with such clarity, grace, and courage. We could have gone on for hours more. So much work still left to do. But catch up on some of the highlights below.

 

And remember this is a conversation that is just in its beginning stages – we have to continue to work together and have the hard conversations because #ChangeIsAWeThing.

Panel Conversation Highlights:

BlogHer Panel

Too bad I didn’t enjoy myself.

BlogHer Team

The whole BlogHer team!

Share!

How to Cut and Paste your Dreams into Reality

In my recent podcast with the fabulous Damone Roberts, we talked about the power of manifestation.

 

We all have personal and professional goals, plenty of new project ideas, and dreams that seem larger than life. One technique that helps to bring my ideas to fruition is to create a vision board. Vision boards can bring clarity to your intentions by helping you hone in on what you want to create.

 

Everyone’s process is different – here’s what I do to get ready to cut and paste my dreams into reality!

 

  1. Get in the Right Head Space

I usually make a vision board when I’m at a starting point – like around the New Year and on my birthday; it helps me get aligned with a new goal or a way to celebrate a trip around the sun.

 

I try to stay positive when I sit down to create because it is with that frame of mind that I will bring my dreams into focus.

 

VB1

 

  1. Gather The Materials That You Love!

There are no rules about what you make your vision board with. If you are an artist who likes to paint it out – do it! I am a writer – so I love to cut out words from magazines or doodle my own. My husband loves to make 3-D vision boards by putting pieces of twine, cloth or fabric together to bring his vision to life.

 

 

 

VB2

 

  1. Let Yourself Enjoy The Journey

Vision boards aren’t always completed works of art. They can be a great exercise to understand a true value you hold or a desire that needs to be surfaced. Don’t judge (“Oh, I couldn’t possibly manifest that!”) Instead – learn from what comes forth while you create.

 

VB3

 

  1. Place It Where You See it Often!

In the daily hustle of life, it’s important to remind ourselves of our inner visions. Our big dreams and small goals. So put this vision board where you can see it. I put mine in my office (above the computer) or in my closet, (where I see it while I’m getting dressed) this way I am surrounded by the vision I am bringing into form.

 

VisionBoard2 VisionBoard

Share!

Mom 2.0 Photo Recap

 

One of my favorite things about being Dove’s Global Self-Esteem Ambassador is the opportunity to reach different audiences with messages about confidence and the beauty of being you. Last week, I was at the Mom 2.0 Summit, which connects parent bloggers, content creators, and marketers around conversations that help shape how we see and think about today’s families.

 

The summit kicked off with an amazing conversation about the power of our words online with none other than the award-winning journalist (and my eternal #WCW) Soledad O’Brien.

 

Jess_Soledad_Dove

 

Soledad is such a genuine, open, and captivating person. We went from strangers (although I have to admit, I had a HUGE professional crush on her!) to chatting like old friends, taking selfies, and having her adjust the microphone on my bra strap!

 

FullSizeRender (12)

 

Jess_Soledad

 

During the keynote address, Soledad and I discussed the power of words, parents’ roles in how their children create and consume social media, and Dove’s recently launched #SpeakBeautiful Effect on Twitter that helps you identify the power of our online words and their impact.

 

With the rise of social media, everyone has the power and platform to share their stories and use their voices. It’s so important that we are intentional about the messages we send out and use those platforms to lift others up, rather than tearing one another down.

 

Jess_Soledad

 

Don’t think I won’t frame this!

 

Jess_Hollis

 

As if things couldn’t get any better – on day two – I hosted our famous Dove Self-Esteem workshops with the fabulous Hollis Heath, a fellow Dove Self-Esteem Educator who also works in New York City to help young people find their strength through education and creative arts.

 

Jess_Dove_SelfEsteem_Workshop

 

Our workshops also focused on the power of our words and how to rewrite our beauty story. We were joined by the amazing women from Mom 2.0, who not only participated in their own workshop, but then came back to mentor girls in another workshop.

 

I’m always moved by how open, brave, and willing participants are, and these women and girls were no exception. Seeing groups of passionate people engage with their journeys of self-discovery, regardless of where they may be on their paths, inspires me time and time again.

 

Girl scouts_Dove

 

We were joined by the Girl Scouts of Orange County who were so incredibly outspoken and creative in their answers about beauty and body image. Clearly these were girls who have been thinking about and talking about how to develop their confidence. Their answers would blow you away!

 

GirlScouts_Dove

 

We had everyone write their beauty story using just one sentence. And the catch? That sentence had to have just 6 words. Think of it as a mini-mini tweet. The girls were supposed to sum up the story they’d like to tell the world about their relationship and understanding to their own beauty and confidence. Here are just a few:

 

L: “Finding out that everyone is different.”

R: “Finding and expressing my inner creativity.”

 

I mean… 🙂

 

FullSizeRender (16)

 

Did a workshop really happen if we don’t take a picture??

Trick to getting a good smile – have everyone yell “1, 2, 3… Self-Esteem!!!”

 

FullSizeRender (17)

 

Mom 2.0 was an uplifting experience reminding me that, as long as we open ourselves up to seeing it, exploring it, and embracing it for what it is, #BeautyIs found in everyone around us.

 

If you want to learn more about the power of YOUR words and what you can do to leave a more positive digital footprint, check out Dove’s #SpeakBeautiful Effect on Twitter. It’s as easy as clicking “retweet” (literally).

Share!

3 Reasons Why Being a Leader is Better Than Being Liked

I know. I know. You want to be a leader. But perhaps you don’t feel like one because you are too busy caring if people like you. And listen, I get it. It’s totally normal.

 

In fact it’s our humanity that compels us to desire closeness and connection with others and want to feel accepted by our family, peers and community.

 

But the truth is that true leaders aren’t always liked. In fact, they often aren’t.

 

The tough and unsung choices leaders make everyday can’t come from pleasing people – they have to come from tapping into their gut, inner strength, wisdom and personal resolve. Leaders do the right thing even when it’s difficult.

 

Here are 3 reasons why being a leader is better than being liked:

 

  1. Because being liked doesn’t always create social change:

There is a lot for us to shift in the world and it won’t get done worrying about winning a popularity contest. When we prioritize being liked over roles in leadership, we let the opportunity slip by to make a palpable difference in our communities and in the lives of the people we care about most.

 

  1. Because the world needs more women leaders:

Women are drastically underrepresented in leadership roles, (and we need to change that – stat!) Women make up roughly 15% of executive officers and about 5% of Fortune 500 CEOs. We all have the power to change that by encouraging women we know to step forward for leadership positions and to be bold enough ourselves to step forward and lead!

 

  1. Because your voice needs to be heard:

Now more than ever we need to cultivate leaders who can share their courageous visions with compassion and connection. Who better than you? If we want to combat some of the vitriol and hate that we see in our world – let’s start by raising our voices. Playing small in the world doesn’t help anyone. You have strengths and incredible power. Don’t let them go to waste! The time to speak up is now.

Share!

Why Creativity Is Essential to My Well Being

Even when we love what we do, we can still feel jaded, weighed down, or in a rut.

When I’m feeling like this — a bit burnt-out that the day-to-day tasks at hand, I know just what I need to do… I need to create something.

 

Creativity helps me to engage with the extraordinary things that lie in the midst of this ordinary day-to-day world.

 

By creating something — anything (a blog post, a journal entry, a vision board, a great chopped salad (no, seriously) I can tap into methods of self-expression that I often put on the backburner when answering emails and returning missed phone calls.

 

When I can generate something completely original, something beautifully and inherently unique to myself, I feel vulnerable and challenged and find that it’s an incredible way to push myself to grow.

Share!